Famous Edinburgh pub ends long-standing Christmas boycott

IT'S the renowned Capital pub that's developed a reputation for having a unique approach to hospitality.
The Canny Man's in Morningside. Picture: Jon Savage.The Canny Man's in Morningside. Picture: Jon Savage.
The Canny Man's in Morningside. Picture: Jon Savage.

With an unwelcoming sign outside daring punters to break its strict rules, its good tidings have never extended beyond warning customers that Christmas celebrations should be taken elsewhere.

But now it seems The Canny Man’s in Morningside is no longer saying Bah Humbug – by advertising itself as the perfect location for turkey and all the trimmings.

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For just £25.95 per person, parties of up to 20 people can feast on a delicious traditional three-course meal, washed down with whiskies and spirits.

And as if that wasn’t welcoming enough, vegetarian options will also be provided.

The Canny Man’s, which was formerly owned by the late Watson Kerr, used to proudly hang signs warning “no office parties”, “no Christmas decorations” and “no festive lunch” to scare off seasonal pub-goers.

But now a new sign has been placed outside the venue advertising the festive fayre.

One former regular told the News: “It’s so hard to believe they’ve decided to serve Christmas lunches because it’s well known for being an awkward pub. I was gobsmacked. I used to go there quite regularly and they had strict rules on who was allowed in.

“I remember there being a sign reading ‘No smoking, no credit cards, no cameras, no backpackers’. It’s had a complete turnaround because it used to actively discourage Christmas revellers.”

The Canny Man’s, on Morningside Road, is now run by the late Mr Kerr’s family and remains a popular hotspot for locals. In many ways, the family have maintained his traditions.

In years gone by, it was a pub where only familiar faces would be welcome, and if Mr Kerr was not fond of the way a customer was dressed, he would immediately ask them to leave.

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In the 1990s, he’d had enough of Christmas revellers bespoiling the Canny Man’s image and displayed a sign that read: “NO OFFICE PARTIES. This means: DO NOT ASK. The answer is NO. And do not bring the remnants of paper-hatted clowns back here. They won’t get served and you’ll be barred.”

It went on: “There will be NO Christmas decorations. This means I don’t want anyone cutting down a tree on my behalf – and I’m not a friend of the earth. No festive lunch. This means be truly thankful I’m not going to serve Christmas pudding, give you a cracker, and charge you double ... I’m serving lunch as usual and you’ll have to wait as usual and more than likely the food will be cold by the time you get it, as usual. NO FREE NIPS. This means that you have not had a drink on the house this year and you will not be getting one. So don’t ask.”

And it concluded: “Having said all of that, have a nice Christmas and New Year.”